VALRICO — Even though Riverview senior Michael Babinec forgot his watch at home, he still made great time Thursday.
Babinec, sporting lime green shoes and wraparound sunglasses, won the boys Class 4A, District 7 race at Sydney Dover Trails in 16:25.89.
After the first hill, Babinec took the lead and was left alone with his thoughts and motivations.
“The harder I run, the better school I can go to,” said Babinec, who just missed out on qualifying for states last year. “That’s what’s going to get me places at school.”
Newsome junior Lars Benner had also separated from the pack and came in second with a time of 16:37.92. He and his six other Newsome teammates were the fastest team with an average time of 17:29.92. The Wolves, along with the boys teams from Manatee and Riverview, will move on to regionals next week.
In the girls race, Sarasota Riverview ran the first half together out in front of everyone else. At the end, it was junior P.J. Lewis who crossed the finish line first with a time of 20:35.85. Sarasota Riverview claimed five of the top six spots, with Newsome’s Stephanie Cajas breaking up the group and coming in fifth.
“I didn’t really expect to win,” Lewis said. “I have a teammate, two teammates — three, actually — that are typically in front of me.”
But with Abigail Hagan battling an Achilles tendon injury and Sarah Miller running with stitches in one knee, Lewis was able to power past them.
“Today was a race we were expecting to do well in, so we had the luxury to all run together,” Lewis said.
“It feels like a tough practice,” she added with a laugh.
Along with Sarasota Riverview, Newsome and North Port advance to regionals. Durant’s Carrie Grewe qualified as an individual with her 12th-place finish.
2A-9: Late burst propels Berkeley's Main
TAMPA —- Since moving from his birthplace of Swindon, England, at age 4, Berkeley Prep senior Alex Main has completely lost his British accent.
But he has found a fifth gear.
On a bright, mild afternoon at Al Lopez Park, Main overtook Robinson senior Brian Sharp beneath a band of trees about 125 meters from the finish line to win the boys Class 2A, District 9 meet.
Main, who emerged as the Buccaneers’ best runner down the stretch of the 2010 season, crossed the finish line in 16:22.19, roughly 31/2 seconds ahead of Sharp.
“With his character and strength as a runner, it didn’t really surprise me,” Sharp said. “But he took it all out at the end.”
The Buccaneers put four runners in the top eight to claim the title of the six-team district with 32 points. In girls action, Academy of the Holy Names also represented half of the top eight finishers to coast to the team crown (35).
Jaguars freshman Colleen Doherty claimed her second consecutive individual district crown, shaking off a nagging hip ailment to win by nearly 25 seconds. Doherty (19:43.80) was the only runner in the sparse field to eclipse 20 seconds.
The top three teams and top 13 individuals qualified for next weekend’s Region 3 meet in Titusville.
Running in a pack with his teammates initially, Main stayed within a stride or two of Sharp for essentially the whole race before pulling away and becoming the Buccaneers’ fifth consecutive individual district champ.
“A lot of the (winners) previously like Michael Rosenbach and Tyler Greathouse, they were getting on me about it,” said Main, 13th at last season’s 2A state meet. “I was a little nervous but I’m glad I pulled through.”
Doherty, suffering from snapping-hip syndrome, where a tendon consistently flips over the hip bone while running, essentially led from wire to wire. Robinson sophomores Julia DeYoung (20:08.71) and Madison Hull (20:50.74) were the only others to break 21 minutes.
“I’m just trying to keep strong and run through (the injury),” Doherty said.
Compiled by staff writers Laura Keeley and Joey Knight.
Class 2A, District 9 at Al Lopez Park, Tampa
Teams: Academy of the Holy Names 35, Berkeley Prep 50, Robinson 50, Tampa Catholic 113, Wesley Chapel 115
Individuals: Colleen Doherty (AHN) 19:43.80, Julia Deyoung (Rob) 20:08.71, Madison Hull (Rob) 20:50.74, Natalie Hahn (AHN) 21:15.93, Abby Walters (BP) 21:17.99, Caroline Brown (BP) 21:37.00, Alexandra Reichert (AHN) 21:44.07, Jaime Jurado (AHN) 21:45.81, Hilleary Gramling (BP) 21:48.71, Abigail Grant (TC) 21:49.32, Alyssa Turner (WC) 21:53.20, Madison Scanlan (Rob) 22:03.90, Aaliyah Gordon (Rob) 23:21.96
Teams: Berkeley Prep 32, Robinson 61, Jesuit 69, Anclote 82, Wesley Chapel 134, Fivay 145
Individuals: Alex Main (BP) 16:22.19, Brian Sharp (Rob) 16:26.56, Shaun Majumdar (BP) 16:33.76, Tim O’Loughlin (Jes) 16:34.85, Argishti Gazari (Anc) 17:14.46, Christopher Sorrick (Anc) 17:17.66, Maximilian Borland (BP) 17:18.58, James Dowdle (BP) 17:22.89, Spencer Guerette (Anc) 17:35.53, Fredrick Stanford (Rob) 17:40.46, Hunter Revord (Jes) 17:42.86, Kenneth Walker (Fiv) 17:45.79, John Hill III (BP) 17:50.98